People walking along Pine Point Beach on March 22. Mike Foley, owner of Foley’s Fitness, said that residents of Scarborough are lucky to have Pine Point Beach and the Eastern Trail as places to walk or run during the pandemic-related shutdowns. Catherine Bart/Leader

SCARBOROUGH — Local gyms are taking Gov. Janet Mills’s advice during the COVID-19 pandemic to close until at least April 1, but members can still find ways to be active while social distancing.

Mike Foley, owner of Foley’s Fitness in Scarborough, said that although times are stressful, he is hoping the community can keep good habits, exercise each day, and eat well and in moderation.

Walking outside is a wonderful form of exercise, said Foley, and Scarborough is fortunate to have the Eastern Trails and Pine Point Beach.

“I think kind of one thing (people can do) is make themselves go outside and go out for a walk that they’re capable of doing,” he said. “So much of getting fresh air would be so important. If you’re a workout person, there are so many workout videos on Youtube. With my clients, I’m telling them to keep structure and eating. It’s really easy to drink alcohol or overeat. You need to be so careful to avoid these habits.”

Getting in touch with other gyms, Foley said that the businesses have been sharing ideas on how to keep in touch with members and how to share workouts online, over Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Despite a strong daily cleaning routine, even before the virus, NXGen Fitness Center, located on Pleasant Hill Road, has done its part during this time of uncertainty and has also closed its doors temporarily, said fitness director Lisa Clifford.

“We’re closed down and we do have people in there cleaning and doing some maintenance projects, but it’s just like, the owner and one other person,” she said. “We had to lay off employees, regular employees, and allow them the option to collect unemployment. We plan to rehire everybody, so yeah, it has definitely affected us. We’re getting email requests from people asking to rent equipment. It’s a great idea, but it’s tricky to execute, so what we’re doing is online workouts. We’re trying to create a sense of community, with ideas of how to workout with nothing, just what you have at your house.”

She added that the nice weather has been a small blessing, with many people able to get outside for a walk or run.

Social media has been helpful in staying in touch with members, said Foley and Clifford. Foley has been able to keep up with nutrition clients.

“I’m still kind of doing remote nutrition clients, mostly over the phone,” he said. “That’s easy enough to do with nutrition. I just go over there over the phone. So the nutrition is kind of easy.”

“Today’s the first day in 20 days that I haven’t set foot in my gym,” Clifford said. “Seeing the members I see every day, it’s a sense of family. Social media is great for (keeping in touch). There’s apps for sharing workouts. We’ve posted workouts on YouTube. Social media is actually a big help, but it’s also a source of stress. I think it’s a double-edged sword. It can impact your psyche, but then again we have an opportunity to connect through ft and virtual classes.”

“As far as NXGen goes, we’re trying to do the right thing and we’re being conscious of the members in that regard but our goal is to provide some level of service as soon as we can,” she said. “If we can reopen, we may not be able to put everyone in a room for a class. We’re here talking about it every day, what can we do, how we can better serve our members. It’s so important to stay active for the body and the immune system.”

NXGen has videos like a yoga lesson up on its Facebook page. Clifford said that she has been answering as many questions as she can over social media.

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